This morning’s Wall Street Journal looks at the evangelical Protestant attitude toward contraception. Mostly, the piece notes, they love it: 88 percent according to a Harris poll support birth control.

Still, the author, a professor at Wheaton College, notes the very recent history of such views among Protestants and acknowledges an evangelical minority holding to the older vantage point on contraception, citing Sam and Bethany Torode’s Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception and Albert Mohler’s qualified rejection of the contraceptive culture.

As it happens, however, the Torodes are not Protestants anymore (having converted to Orthodoxy), nor are they opposed to all forms of contraception anymore. This may make the case stronger that opposition to contraception is alien to contemporary American evangelical thought. The WSJ concludes that the debate is far from over:

As strong as evangelical opinion may be on all sides of the contraception debate, it is not fixed. The Torodes, who were newlyweds when they wrote their apologia for contraception-free, marital sex, now have three children. Mrs. Torode offers an update on the couple’s Web site: "While we still believe in the importance of family, we’re more mellow about encouraging others to have more children." As Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, a professor of biblical studies at Eastern College, writes: "To suggest that birth control is evil or perverse because it undermines God’s sovereignty is to underestimate God’s sovereignty and reject our responsibility to serve him wisely."

Still, many evangelicals portray abstinence not as obedience but as an investment in future great sex. For those who marry, the "my body, my choice" attitude contributes to a contraception culture that places fulfillment of personal desires ahead of God’s desires.

Some evangelicals charge that the Pill has contributed to the moral breakdown of society; perhaps, but evangelicals’ embrace of the contraception culture has not helped. It may have made Christianity sexier to potential adherents but diminished a public understanding of marriage in the process. For evangelicals, this may be a bitter pill to swallow.